Sunday, March 28, 2010

When We All Work Together

How happy we’ll be!

That may sound a bit simplistic, but the truth is: working together does make us feel happier and it certainly lightens our load. And we experienced some of that this week.

We’ve had good working relationships with local, district, and even provincial authorities for years now and have certainly enjoyed their friendship and facilitation of many aspects of the mission’s work. But as is customary here, government department heads get transferred to new posts on a rotating basis every 4 years or so. This past year happened to be the year for that, and we were sad to see old, familiar faces leave and their new replacements arrive. Now is the time for new working relationships.

First, the new Administrator and her entourage of 50 including the new District Health Director, Social Services Director, and others paid us a visit. This happened while we were in South Africa with Bero, but our team reported that she was very pleased with the various mission projects.

Then, we went to meet with the new District Health Director. Cooperation between the government health department and us is crucial and we needed his “ok” before we could continue planning some upcoming health activities. Sometimes, there is a huge stack of legal paperwork to fill out and submit which then goes for a stamp of approval before things can go forward. Other times, you get their blessing without much ado at all. I like those times better! Thankfully, this meeting was one of the latter. After spending quite awhile chatting with him about cooperative activities past, present and proposed future, he smiled warmly and essentially said, “Not only “may” you go ahead with your plan, you are invited to do so!”

Our next visitor was from Social Services. He was interested to know more about our program for helping orphans, widows and the handicapped. A group of ladies who were in the office doing crafts with Alta at the time, moved out onto the lawn so we could meet inside. After briefing him on the program, he commended the mission with, (again in essence because I’m not good at verbatim), “All the approaches that we advocate as ‘best practices’ that work best for healthier individuals, families, and communities, you are already doing. We are very impressed with your programs. And empowering these women too, that’s wonderful!” Then he went on to explain how government programs could benefit the families we help as well. I told him that if wheelchairs are available, I have a few people in mind already!

(Women's group monitors learn crafts which they will then teach to other women.)

Dan Jones, with Mercy Air U.S.A., visits an orphan home and captures a few local scenes.
And a few little onlookers as well.

Apparently, the families we help now also have the attention of Mozambique's First Lady. She has sent someone to build traditional but “energy saver” stoves in their homes.

These clay stoves help conserve heat and therefore use less firewood or charcoal. Less work for the people who use them and less stress on environmental resources too. ☺ Apparently the First Lady is slated to pop in here for a visit next week too!

Other news:

Last week, Rick Neufeld and short termers Chris and Corissa transported maize for hunger relief in a remote community across the Zambezi river. First, they drove it 5 hours north,

then loaded it onto a boat,

which took several hours to deliver the supplies. They escaped crocodile and hippo encounters on the river just fine, but on the way home they had vehicle trouble. Ah well, it’s all part of the experience!
Some of the mission’s sponsored students attend higher grades at schools in surrounding communities. Here are some photos taken this week of kids at the nearby Pina Community School.

These girls attended the mission school until Grade 5 and are now in Pina for Grade 6. We’re very proud of these girls who stay in school!

A group of Mercy Air South Africa and Mercy Air U.S.A. visitors are here for a few days visit as well.

I see I’m not the only one with a fascination for photographing kids making funny faces.

More news:

FINALLY, finally!—the Portuguese copy of our health manual has been sent off for final revision and translation of remaining portions. I am so thankful for Keren’s hard work helping me with input and to pull it all together to meet our deadline (to the best of our ability). While the Portuguese copy receives its finishing touches and the English copy is being edited, Keren, who can draw wonderfully, is busy producing the needed illustrations. Those who use the manual for years to come will be grateful I didn’t have to use my cave-man drawings in it. :P

Also, I got a “real” fridge this week.

Look, even Mushu was excited!

After 14 years (Maputo experience not included), of bush living starting with no refrigeration, then to occasionally having a cooler with ice, then to a propane fridge (that worked more or less and made smoke and had no light) to improvising with a small chest freezer, to this.

It stands upright, it has a light, it gets cold, no dragging propane tanks around, no more fumes and no more “surprise” defrosts when the gas runs out.

What a splendid gift. We are so very thankful!

I better close for now. We have last minute work that needs attention and bags that need to be packed for our trip home. We’ll be gone for about 7 weeks, primarily to attend university graduation ceremonies for both our kids, but also to take in a conference and attend meetings with those overseas who work together with us and who are vital to the work here.

(Corissa tests the waters in a local canoe.)
So long.


Russell said...

Cool pictures mom. How is the fridge powered if not by propane. Does it have it's own 12V source for when the electricity goes off, like our old chest freezer?

Awwwww Mushu.

Gill - That British Woman said...

what a super thing you are doing, well done. Also great photos,

Gill in Canada

ruth said...

Nice fridge!